This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
Here we are, only 17 days to the Seattle Marathon! It’s hard to believe all the work that has been done, all the miles run by the thousands of runners who will be lining up just 17 days from now to take on the streets of Seattle. If you’re one of those runners, though, this is a tricky time. So what should you be doing?
Some of you might have already run your longest run and are just resting up now. Some of you might have one more good effort planned for this weekend. There is no one size fits all right way to do this. Some people need extra rest and others need to keep the training going.
I do think there are some guidelines, though. If you’ve been working very hard for a very long time, you’re likely to be more fatigued so a longer taper makes sense. If you’ve been working very hard for only a short period of time, you aren’t carrying as much fatigue so you don’t need as much time to recover. Likewise, if you had a solid base before you started training, the load may not have been as significant and you might be able to race well off a shorter taper.
So, whether you have already begun your taper or will be shortly is a very independent thing. Some of the runners I coach have already begun their tapers, others will be starting soon. All, though, will be working at some reduced level of training within the week.
Outside of your training, what do you do? Take care of the little things. Make your plans. If you’re traveling from out of town, hopefully you have the big picture items taken care of. You have your travel and lodging plans in place and reservations made. Do you have a plan for meals? Do you know when and how you plan to get to the race expo to pick up your race packet?
If you have anyone going to watch, this is the time to get the plans in place or, better yet, delegate the plan making to someone else so you can focus on taking care of yourself. Anything you can do to alleviate your stress and responsibility will help you run better on race day.
From this point out, remember, less is more. It’s not often I say that but it’s true in the final few weeks. There are circumstances where one more long run or one more something else makes sense but, if you’re unsure, play it safe. Little you do at this point will help you on race day but a lot you do from here on out could make race day harder. If you haven’t already, it will soon be time to shift your focus from training hard to resting and restoring.